There are strange things done beneath the Yukon’s midnight sun – and sometimes in the depths of winter’s darkness. But there are wonderfully sublime moments, too. Get a taste of the weird and the wonderful with these five cool and quirky things to do in Yukon, Canada.
1- Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous
How much of a Klondiker are you? The Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, which runs February 16 -25, 2018, is the kind of event where men are men and women are tough.
Yukoners take pride in the skills needed to perform such muscular tasks as chopping wood and wielding axes and chainsaws.
During the Mad(am) Trapper competition, contestants pit themselves against one another to determine who is the ultimate athlete where it really counts. See who can walk the furthest with hundreds of pounds of flour on their backs.
Find out who is the most skilled at axe throwing, log splitting, log tossing and chucking a chainsaw.
Scores are tallied in each discipline to determine who is the Mad Trapper (for men) and Madam Trapper (for women).
2- Watson Lake Signpost Forest
Walk through a forest that doesn’t have any trees. Well, not the leafy kind. A homesick United States Army soldier was helping build the Alaska Highway in 1942 when he installed a sign pointing toward his hometown of Danville, Illinois, and the distance in miles.
Since then, others from around the world have added signs at the spot in Watson Lake to represent their hometowns, including Aachen, Germany.
The Watson Lake Signpost Forest now has more than 65,000 signs. They look as different as the places they name.
Some signs are several metres wide; others are like a wafer-thin street sign. Walk through this forest, which is several acres, and see if you can spot a sign for your hometown.
3- Dawson City Outhouse Race
So a bunch of outhouses are trotting down the street in Dawson City. No, it’s not the beginning of a terrible joke. Every Labour Day weekend since 1977, this is exactly what happens during the Great Klondike International Outhouse Race.
Teams of five people dress up in costumes and decorate their outhouses using a bit of toilet humour, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Going by such names as the Elton John, The Royal Flush, The Whizzer of Oz, and The Mad Crapper, four people wheel the outhouse along a three-kilometer course through the town’s streets. The fifth person must be sitting on the pot as the others race the outhouse down the street.
Runners often take turns on the toilet but don’t worry. Everyone keeps their pants on for the event. Crowds line up to cheer on the competing commodes as they use human power to propel themselves to the finish line.
The team that finishes their business the fastest, er, completes the race the quickest, wins. Prizes are also awarded for the most original outhouse and the best-dressed team.
4- Sourtoe Cocktail Club
Would you like a human toe with your whiskey? As the story goes, Captain Dick Stevenson was cleaning out an old cabin in 1973 when he found a human toe that had been pickled in a jar of alcohol. That’s when he founded the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.
If you want to join the group, you must belly up to the bar at Dawson City’s Sourdough Saloon and drink a shot of whiskey that has a shrivelled toe in it.
There’s only one rule: ”You can drink it fast. You can drink it slow. But your lips must touch that gnarly toe.”
A few people have taken this a little too far. One guy’s tummy touched the toe in 2013 when he swallowed the mummified member. Now it’s your turn to touch your toe. Mission accomplished, you can swagger out through the saloon’s swinging doors.
And, now for the wonderful…
5- Dempster Highway
The Tombstone, Ogilvie and Richardson mountains watch over this iconic highway as it travels for 740 km from Dawson City, Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Along the way, it crosses the Continental Divide, the Mackenzie River and the Yukon-NWT border.
This two-lane gravel road opened in 1979 and was named for Royal Canadian Mounted Police inspector William Dempster.
Just after leaving Dawson City, the tundra’s blues and greens dissipate in autumn as the landscape is bathed in golds and vivid oranges and reds. Stop to hike in spectacular Tombstone Territorial Park just off the highway.
As the road wanders through the Arctic wilderness, keep an eye out for Dall Sheep, mountain goats, moose, caribou, wolves and bears.
Stay overnight at Eagle Plains, the only hotel on this quiet road. Take a selfie at the Arctic Circle and the territorial border. Then head to Inuvik. There aren’t any gas stations, and restaurants are a rarity. But isolation is the very reason people come here.
One of the best things to do in the Yukon is to go hiking. The Chilkoot Trail is a famous historic trail but there are plenty of other trails through stunning and pristine Yukon wilderness.